Watching Barcelona and Manchester United playing on the final of UEFA Champions League would be one of the most thrilling events for soccer fans worldwide – and they have the luxury of watching such big match two times in three years; first in 2009 and the next in less than 2 hours. Back in 2009, Barcelona beat United 2-0.
The two who claimed the title for their respective leagues will play head-to-head for the first time this season on May 28, 2011 at Wembley Stadium in London. The winner will take the Champions League trophy home.
Undoubtedly, Barcelona is one of the finest teams and will not take second place for an answer.
This season’s Barcelona is arguably one of the greatest soccer teams in the history – and if they manage to get the Champions League trophy tomorrow, the argument may dissolve into acceptance. Barcelona has grabbed the Spanish La Liga league’s title without much trouble this season and also left a remarkable record of having 16 consecutive wins in the process. This is the longest winning streak ever in the La Liga’s history, beating their rival Real Madrid’s record of 15 consecutive wins in 1960-61.
The star player Lionel Messi (24) has scored 52 goals total this season, including 31 goals in the league and 11 goals in the Champions League. If Messi scores one more against United, which he did two years ago at 2008-09 Champions League final, he would be tied for first in scoring the most in a single season of the tournament’s history since 1992 (the year when the tournament’s format was modified to the current format). Two scores will put him ahead of Ruud van Niestelrooy, who scored 12 goals in the tournament in 2002-03 season.
To reach the final round, Barcelona had to beat Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Real Madrid in the knockout phase. Barcelona had one of the strongest offences, scoring 27 goals in 12 games. In comparison, Manchester United only scored 18.
Some key players to note are Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, and Andrew Iniesta - all three of them were nominees for 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or, the award given to the best player of the year.
However, Manchester United is not an easy opponent.
Manchester United, led by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, just celebrated the 19th title of the English league. While critics favor Barcelona over United by a slight margin, they also believe that United has a very strong chance of upsetting the three-year consecutive Spanish champion. Manchester United was a difficult team to defeat this season, not losing their first league game until round 25 on February 5, 2011 – but it was when they were already far ahead of their competitors.
Also in the Champions league, United was unbeatable, not giving a single game away. They only conceived 4 goals in 12 games in the tournament. Barcelona, on the other hand, conceived twice as many goals and has been beaten once by Arsenal.
If Manchester United snatches victory from Barcelona, Ferguson would be ranked as the most successful Champions league manager with three wins and one runner-up. Currently, Bob Paisley is the only manager to have won the European champion title three times, but no runner-ups.
Key players from Manchester United include Wayne Rooney, English’s best striker, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, new shining star of this year.
Barcelona and Manchester United have played ten games against each other – both of them won three times each and they had four ties. The most recent game was in 2009 Champions League final where Barcelona beat United 2-0; however in 2008, United beat Barcelona by 1-0. Both teams have claimed the European title 3 times.